Saturday, February 13, 2010

Will Brown Make It Snappy?

An election date cat has been thrown among the pundit pigeons, posing March 25 as a possible date for the diary. A snappy election may throw a life-line to election weary voters but does it reckon on Bottling Brown?

Slipping in a possible March 25 date makes perfect sense - if you are a political strategist. But doesn't stack up with a petulant prime minister so convinced of his own rectitude, he probably doesn't see the need for a general election at all.

For too long Downing Street has spun the line of May 6. That fits in with a March budget ahead of the Easter hols and the launch of an April election campaign proper.

Maybe too well, leading Oborne to look at the runes and ask in the Mail: Is Brown about to call a snap election?

The Orange Party believes the key lies with glorious St George's Day, April 23, when election hopes of a 'recovery' could be blown out of the water with a piddling Q1 GDP 'growth'. Enough to sending the struggling Supreme Leader into more fits of depression recession and election date strategists tearing their hair out, as the fag-end government put its money on a last roll of the 'recovery' dice.

The election campaign has never been so much fun but has left voters floundering in the fog of a phoney war. All good things must come to an end.

There are only so many times Bunkered Brown can be brought out of the box for photo-ops to make him appear all statesmanlike and human.

Sinking to a new low, Sunday's shameless tears for Piers PR stunt is the final shot across the bows of a sceptical public as New Labour's new TV show The Crying Game turns into a sure fire ratings flop.

A cynical attempt to save his own skin, with a big dollop of Brown sauce: “After thirteen years in power and weeks from a general election, what first attracted the Prime Minister to shed a few tears with Piers?”

A contrived 'celebrity' interview is the desperate act of a desperate politician, playing to the crowds for the sympathy vote with a shameless PR stunt. Enough to bring tears to your eye.

New Labour's spinning 'hung parliament' scaremongering narrative has run its course, as commentators woke up to pushy opinion polls with New Labour bias, only as good as the very small samples, weighty weightings and questions asked and not asked.

The double digit Tory opinion poll lead, thought to be needed to overturn an in-built anti-Tory election system, has now become a feature of the polling landscape.

For New Labour things can only get worse. Chilcot, the Afghan War, real recession biting, deepening dole queues and a public fed up with failures and broken promises, raise the possibility of more damaging polls on the horizon.

But the election will be fought and won in the marginals and here Tories are steaming ahead. The blessed Boris let the cat out of the bag, predicting a 40 seat Tory majority.

Dreadful Darling has been let out of jail after a bust up with Balls finally announcing a March budget and marking another round in the tax/spend/cuts war. Sceptical voters will need convincing this isn't blatant budget electioneering and a deliberate bid to try to wrong foot Tories than what's best for the rocky road to recovery.

Why not come clean with an election on the back of an electioneering budget and go for broke?

The Orange Party has noted before how New Labour's blogging and tweeting election campaign has ramped up with a relentless onslaught. With the faint smell of victory, cash-rich Tories won't take it lying down, throwing the 'battle of the posters' into the fray.

Here it's Tories wot won it, according to a Politicshome survey, with a real 'death tax' poster hitting the mark more than cash-strapped New Labour's virtual offering.

What to make of it all? Instead of watching Blubbering Brown drone on with pal Piers, pump primed by Campbell, the Orange Party suggests a little light reading from Rawnsley, Watt and Price. Is everyone else so wrong and only the righteous one right?

Picking the election date is one of the few gifts of a prime minister, along with promoting New Labour cronies to keep them sweet and using the prerogative to by-pass parliament. Bottling Brown's election call record is hardly healthy.

But there must be someone in the bowels of Downing Street with the guts to stand up to the stroppy Supreme Leader and deliver a wake up call, instead of kowtowing to the delusions of grandeur living life in La-La-Land.

"If those advocating an early election win the argument, expect it to be called in two weeks' time and to be held on March 25," observes Oborne. The Orange Party cannot help thinking that wishing Brown would make it snappy is wishful thinking.

But Beaming Brown is forgetting vengeful voters. The savvy public has seen through the sham. Never smile at a crocodile. A little dose of reality from the wonderful world of retro Disney would't go amiss. No-one is taken in by the great big grin:
Never smile at a crocodile
No, you can't get friendly with a crocodile
Don't be taken in by his welcome grin
He's imagining how well you'd fit within his skin
Cartoon: Peter Brookes, The Times

UPDATE 7.30pm: The latest ComRes poll shows the Tory lead back to 11%. Con 40%(+2), Lab 29%(-2), LibDem 21%(+2)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

MPs' Greed Costs Country A Fortune

Taxpayers are being forced to fork out £6.5m on an unelected quango because fiddling MPs cannot be trusted to keep checks on their expenses. Parliament is set to play second fiddle to an army of quangocrats and cronies. MPs' greed is costing the country and democracy a fortune.

Keeping a check on MPs' expenses has become an expensive habit.

MPs have been ordered to repay £1.12m following Legg's audit which itself cost £1.16m - including a reported £142,000 for Legg himself.

That's on top of the reported £400,000 for the Kelly inquiry from the standards watchdog, set to be watered down in Ispa quangoland.

The Ipsa quango is set to cost £6.5m and employ a whopping 80 staff, according to figures reported by the BBC. Everything from 'policy' to 'communications' is under 'watchdog' head Kennedy, set to earn more than MPs themselves.

Hired New Labour cronies will pay lip-service to transparency but will be among the best paid in the public sector, according to documents leaked to the Telegraph.

The Orange Party was among many who sounded a warning bell when the idea of yet another quango was first mooted in June of last year. Just how will these cronies be selected and at what cost to the taxpayer? How can the public be sure they will stay corruption-free?

At a stroke the expensive MPs' expenses quango will sweep away centuries of constitutional tradition at the centre of the democratic process.

MPs will be answerable to unelected bureaucrats not the electorate. Parliamentary democracy is being torn to shreds. At the heart lies the vexed question: who will guard the guardians in Brown's Big Brother House?

Martin repeats the warning today on his WSJ blog: Who watches the new parliamentary watchdog?

It's a sad indictment of democracy, when MPs cannot be trusted. The checks and balances were already firmly in place but no-one took a blind bit of notice.

Now MPs, once answerable the electorate, face the soothing music of an unelected bunch of over-paid bureaucrats. A complete reverse of the way this country is supposed to be governed and not the way to rebuild trust.

Harman's quango bill moved the constitutional ship of state into unchartered waters. The government found a neat way of side-stepping responsibility and accountability for its shabby handling of the sordid expenses saga.

And to add insult to injury, as Oborne pointed out, "This new Bill will be voted on by a House riddled with expenses cheats which has just elected a tax-dodger as Speaker."

The Orange Party fears for the future of democracy which is paying a high price for MPs' greed and Bottling Brown's stubborn refusal to hold a general election.

In a democracy, the electorate is the best regulator. Only a general election can begin to restore public trust in politics and politicians. Voters are chomping at the bit, denied the chance and treated with contempt. Parliament and democracy is being reduced to the sinister farce of quangoland.

Once again when ministers get themselves into a mess they dig themselves into a deeper hole, wriggling around with another unaccountable and unelected quango to get themselves off the hook.

But scratch away at the surface and a rotten underbelly is exposed, threatening the cornerstone of constitutional democracy and parliamentary sovereignty.

Handing over vast power at vast expense to a bunch of political elitists who are not accountable to the electorate is not the way to rebuild trust in politics or politicians. Revenge will be a dish best served out of a cold ballot box.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Brown's 'Deathbed Conversion' A V. Sick Joke

Precious parliamentary time and taxpayers' cash is being wasted on petty party politicking over a voting reform gimmick which won't see the light of day this side of the election. Crafty Brown's 'deathbed conversion' to AV is set to become a sick joke.

Cash-strapped New Labour is welcome to use its dwindling pot for party political broadcasts but politicking at the taxpayers' expense with an election gimmick is an expensive waste of time.

The Orange Party is with Dave on this one, accusing Beleaguered Brown of "fiddling" the electoral system "in a cynical attempt to save his own skin", with a big dollop of Brown sauce.

“After thirteen years in power and 90 days from a general election, what first attracted the Prime Minister to changing the voting system?”

How many full parliamentary days left as election weary voters wait for the amber light to turn green? 20 tops? Laws take around 200 days from start to finish. A pointless waste of time - unless you're Crafty Brown and fancy a post election LibDem love-in.

Today's commons vote on the struggling Supreme Leader's deathbed conversion to an £80 million alternative vote (AV) referendum is dead in the water before it draws breath.

Brown's reforming zeal and sudden 'conversion' to a 1997 election pledge has been exposed as a sham. Even a Bouncy Blair had to ditch the idea because he "couldn't get it past Gordon".

No wonder Cameron's cross. The boys in blue are set to storm into No 10 after a marginal victory with lousy legislation waiting on the books. Scrap it and fall foul of ya boo sucks New Labour or keep it going and watch Tories explode. Dave is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

LibDems too are not happy bunnies, left with their precious PR going down the pan. Labour has got it wrong, says wannabe leader Huhne. "Only STV will remedy the unfairness of the present system." Do wake up at the back.

Revolting Labour backbenchers with their own alternative vote (AV)? LibDems sticking the sandal in, demanding the single transferable vote (STV)? Tories desperate to be first past the post (FPTP) with faux outrage? Team Brown hailing a massive vote of confidence in their man (OTT)?

The public has either seen through the Brown sauce sham or doesn't give a monkeys. There's enough to be going on with, not least cleaning up parliament with pressing commons reforms.

MPs could make a start fixing broken Britain - coming out tops in a Populus poll for The Times, along with the economy, stupid. But MPs have much more on their minds with a general election to fight or long holiday to plan with golden goodbyes.

No doubt lawmakers (sic) will be herded in to go through the motions for their particular party, except perhaps for three likely suspects who don't have that privilege.

The only winners will be the spinners totting up the political point scoring. Whatever.


Watch Out, Green Police About

A Super Bowl ad is causing quite a sir in the US, hitting a raw nerve with both greenwash fanatics and folk fearing a Big Brother green police crackdown.

The Audi Super Bowl ad 'Green Police', provided a perfect backdrop for the green brigade, the Audi A3 TDI and legendary rock band 'Cheap Trick' - which kinda says it all.

Man Ad-Men would sell their grandmothers for a piece of the 30 second action at around $3m a pop.

But the National Football League championship is watched by over 100 million viewers. And that makes it a marvel for marketing men plugging new products, including up and coming US presidential hopefuls.

Sunday's Super Bowl 44 didn't disappoint. The most-watched TV program in US history, setting a new all-time ratings high, drawing a TV crowd of 106.5 million.

US admen go to great lengths to create memorable TV Superbowl moments, kicked off by Ridley Scott's ground-breaking 1984 Superbowl ad for a computer named after an apple.

Was the 2010 offering a delicious piece of post-Obama irony or a cynical attempt to jump on the green bandwagon and flog a new car? Probably a mixture of both.

The Orange Party's favourite is smug Audi guy waved through the anteater sniffing eco-check point into the new green promised land of ObamaLand - just as the president's personal ratings plummet.

It can never happen over here, can it?

Green police bossing people around, ticketing and ticking people off if they don't sort out their rubbish for recycling. Green police spying on hapless suspects to check they are following a green cross code. Where the UK leads the US follows - and it used to be the other way around.

Football footnote: The Orange Party's New Orleans pals sure know how to party. They're still at it after the Saints beat Indianapolis Colts by a whopping 31-17.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Hattie Tries To Gag Dave

Fighting back Cameron is launching a blistering attack on Brown and his expenses fiddling suspects as they try to escape from a criminal court. But Hattie had the gall to tell Dave to keep quiet for calling for a new law to stamp out the abuse.

Outrage led to outpourings of disgust from both Tory and LibDem leaders, with the 'disgusting sight' of MPs charged with fiddling expenses trying to hide behind the smokescreen of parliamentary privilege with a 'get out of jail free' card.

Couple Cameron's personal attack on the struggling Supreme Leader's sinster style and Bunkered Brown's failure to stop his MPs 'abusing parliamentary privilege' and it's turning into a right old dog fight.

Deputy dog and wannabe PM, 'Big Sis' Harman, lectured the opposition leader on the Today programme, claiming Cameron's call could lead to the charges being thrown out of court. "He's got to be very careful what he says or his comments might actually jeopardise the trial," wagged Hattie.

What utter tosh. Harman's weak and wooly outburst is politicking at the lowest level to protect the New Labour three, using 'sub judice' to put a lid on the whole sordid saga.

Wading in with fresh unreported details on the case against the three, maybe. But nothing Cameron is set to say scratches the surface. And that would go for any MP wanting to raise the matter under the protected privilege of the House.

The only possible contempt of court came with Channel 4 News' broadcast of a lengthy interview with one of the suspects, Devine, putting up the case for his defence and making a complete pigs ear of it. No New Labour crony came out to attack that.

In fact the New Labour gang have been remarkably quiet. Brown had his chance to close down the debate and as usual he blew it.

Both Cameron and Clegg rounded on the New Labour three when it was suggested they could try to be above the law using ancient parliament privilege to wriggle out of a criminal trial. Brown could have joined in with suitable outrage but adding he doesn't think it would come to that. But if in doubt he says nowt.

Now he's given Cameron the perfect election gift to challenge him to back the introduction of a new Parliamentary Privilege Act before the election with the added bonus of using the sordid saga for a bit of political point scoring.

Cameron's attack follows the announcement last week that three New Labour MPs Morley, Devine and Chaytor face criminal charges over their expenses under the Theft Act.

Cameron is on a winner wondering why the three are using the Labour Party's official solicitor to help mount their controversial defence. And demanding to know why they still have the protection of the party whip.

There's always been something fishy about the handling of this case. As the Orange Party pointed out when they were charged, the timing was perfect for the fiddlers three.

Police and Legg auditors had been investigating since the Telegraph blew the whistle in May last year. Morley was then "suspended" from the parliamentary Labour party, according to Brown.

Files were sent to state prosecutors in November but only now has the CPS decided to bring criminal charges.

None were arrested, instead summoned to appear in court next month which neatly allows all three to continue to draw fat MPs salaries until time for huge golden goodbyes.

The reason for the delay is clear. New Labour could not risk three damaging and expensive by-elections on the back of the MPs' expenses scandal. The by-election caused by disgraced speaker Martin forced to quit was quite enough.

The three have been told they cannot run on a New Labour ticket at the election and are standing down. But none had the party whip withdrawn. That ignominy could tip them over the edge forcing them to quit.

In a late move to take some of the wind out of Cameron's sails, New Labour finally suspended the whip on all three charged MPs today, handing Dave easy victory and leaving Big Sis with egg on her face.

Cameron was in like a shot last May, capturing the political high ground, leaving Brown floundering around, as the sordid expenses scandal blew up. Now he's managing to do it all over again.

The last thing New Labour wants is for Cameron to be on his uppers. But New Labour's handling of the whole sorry mess is a golden chance to milk the scandal and tap into genuine public outrage. New Labour has only itself to blame.

Bottom picture: Brown announcing Morley's PLP suspension, Feb 14 2009


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Brown And Campbell's Crying Game Shame

New Labour is hoping its new TV show The Crying Game is a sure fire ratings winner in the battle for election weary voters. The Party is useless at running the country but boy do they know how to run a dodgy general election campaign with a couple of shameless PR stunts.

Blair boy Marr was a push over for Crafty Campbell as he popped in for a cosy Sunday BBC TV chat. But was this a political interview or a shameless plug for Campbell's new book?

The spinner and sinner-in-chief had to "hold back the tears", reports the Beeb, as he backed up pal Blair's lies and deceit over the Iraq war. An "emotional Campbell" insisted warmongering Blair did not mislead parliament or the people. Tell that to bitter blabbermouth Short.

The Orange Party is convinced Iannucci's The Thick Of It was a fly on the wall documentary, In The Loop deserves an Oscar for best factual film and Campbell should get a gong for best actor.

All a far cry from Campbell’s C4 News shame, barging into the studio to bully ice-cool Snow and berate the BBC for having the cheek to expose his sexed-up dodgy dossiers.

Campbell’s got a book to sell. That means getting up to speed with the winning formula of promoting yourself as a larger than life celebrity still in touch with his inner emotional side.

Wiping away the odd crocodile tear, the old spinner was not averse to throwing in the odd joke, telling Matey Marr he did not think the struggling Supreme Leader had intended to cry during an interview with celebrity puffer Piers Morgan. How we laughed.

The cunning plan to keep Liability Brown in the bunker only to be let out of the box to come over all statesman-like and human is going over the top with a new TV low.

Blubbering Brown "shed tears" as he talked of the death of his daughter, during a carefully planned PR stunt, pump-primed by Campbell, for Puffing Piers' Life Stories. The "moving interview" even had the studio audience "on the verge of tears", according to the Mail on Sunday.

But Beaming Brown managed to wipe away the tears for Piers with his trademark warm grin for the follow up photo-op. Using a 'celebrity' interview to make him appear human would make Max proud.

Shedding a tear over tragedy is the kind of tear-jerking tosh usually reserved for two-bit celebrities trying to resurrect a flagging career.

Beleaguered Brown is a canny politician on his last legs fighting a general election. A 'celebrity' interview is the desperate act of a desperate politician.

Tweeting Sarah was also roped in to relive painful memories, sobbing for the cameras and live audience, according to the Mail, all duly recorded as a disgraceful ratings flop for ITV next Sunday.

Yet more of New Labour's cynical attempts to manipulate public opinion.

New Labour's blogging and tweeting brigade have exploded onto the scene with an onslaught of desperate and carefully planned bids to capture the media narrative.

And capture the narrative they are, seizing on push polls to scare the pants off voters, fuelling fears of a hung parliament and claiming the world and his dog are turning against Dave.

Tories and LibDems (bless) are fighting back. But none can match the sinister spin of Campbell, skilful skulduggery of Mandy and superb showmanship of Blair. The battle-hardened trio are at the heart of the media campaign as the election race enters the final 90 day furlong.

The Orange Party has said before, Cameron has to stand firm on the straight strait and narrow. Stop selling pups, wobbling around like a demented jellyfish. Tories are winning the key battle of the marginals. But generally voters have yet to be convinced Cam is the man.

The Orange Party will not shed a tear for a discredited Brown or spin doctor trying to wriggle out of eye-watering mess of their own making.

These are tears of a couple of clowns who've duped the country into a decade of disaster and failure.

And playing to the crowds for the sympathy vote with shameless PR stunts is enough to bring tears to your eye.